Skip to comments.Prius Outdoes Hummer in Environmental Damage
Posted on 03/14/2007 2:00:06 PM PDT by tcrlaf
The Toyota Prius has become the flagship car for those in our society so environmentally conscious that they are willing to spend a premium to show the world how much they care.
Unfortunately for them, their ultimate green car is the source of some of the worst pollution in North America; it takes more combined energy per Prius to produce than a Hummer.
Before we delve into the seedy underworld of hybrids, you must first understand how a hybrid works. For this, we will use the most popular hybrid on the market, the Toyota Prius.
The Prius is powered by not one, but two engines: a standard 76 horsepower, 1.5-liter gas engine found in most cars today and a battery- powered engine that deals out 67 horsepower and a whooping 295ft/lbs of torque, below 2000 revolutions per minute.
Essentially, the Toyota Synergy Drive system, as it is so called, propels the car from a dead stop to up to 30mph. This is where the largest percent of gas is consumed. As any physics major can tell you, it takes more energy to get an object moving than to keep it moving. The battery is recharged through the braking system, as well as when the gasoline engine takes over anywhere north of 30mph. It seems like a great energy efficient and environmentally sound car, right?
You would be right if you went by the old government EPA estimates, which netted the Prius an incredible 60 miles per gallon in the city and 51 miles per gallon on the highway.
Unfortunately for Toyota, the government realized how unrealistic their EPA tests were, which consisted of highway speeds limited to 55mph and acceleration of only 3.3 mph per second.
The new tests which affect all 2008 models give a much more realistic rating with highway speeds of 80mph and acceleration of 8mph per second.
This has dropped the Priuss EPA down by 25 percent to an average of 45mpg. This now puts the Toyota within spitting distance of cars like the Chevy Aveo, which costs less then half what the Prius costs.
However, if that was the only issue with the Prius, I wouldnt be writing this article. It gets much worse.
Building a Toyota Prius causes more environmental damage than a Hummer that is on the road for three times longer than a Prius.
As already noted, the Prius is partly driven by a battery which contains nickel. The nickel is mined and smelted at a plant in Sudbury, Ontario. This plant has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding environment that NASA has used the dead zone around the plant to test moon rovers.
The area around the plant is devoid of any life for miles.
The plant is the source of all the nickel found in a Prius battery and Toyota purchases 1,000 tons annually. Dubbed the Superstack, the plague-factory has spread sulfur dioxide across northern Ontario, becoming every environmentalists nightmare.
The acid rain around Sudbury was so bad it destroyed all the plants and the soil slid down off the hillside, said Canadian Greenpeace energy-coordinator David Martin during an interview with Mail, a British-based newspaper.
All of this would be bad enough in and of itself; however, the journey to make a hybrid doesnt end there. The nickel produced by this disastrous plant is shipped via massive container ship to the largest nickel refinery in Europe.
From there, the nickel hops over to China to produce nickel foam. From there, it goes to Japan.
Finally, the completed batteries are shipped to the United States, finalizing the around-the-world trip required to produce a single Prius battery. Are these not sounding less and less like environmentally sound cars and more like a farce?
Wait, I havent even got to the best part yet.
When you pool together all the combined energy it takes to drive and build a Toyota Prius, the flagship car of energy fanatics, it takes almost 50 percent more energy than a Hummer - the Priuss arch nemesis.
Through a study by CNW Marketing called Dust to Dust, the total combined energy is taken from all the electrical, fuel, transportation, materials (metal, plastic, etc) and hundreds of other factors over the expected lifetime of a vehicle. The Prius costs an average of $3.25 per mile driven over a lifetime of 100,000 miles - the expected lifespan of the Hybrid.
The Hummer, on the other hand, costs a more fiscal $1.95 per mile to put on the road over an expected lifetime of 300,000 miles. That means the Hummer will last three times longer than a Prius and use less combined energy doing it.
So, if you are really an environmentalist - ditch the Prius. Instead, buy one of the most economical cars available - a Toyota Scion xB. The Scion only costs a paltry $0.48 per mile to put on the road. If you are still obsessed over gas mileage - buy a Chevy Aveo and fix that lead foot.
One last fun fact for you: it takes five years to offset the premium price of a Prius. Meaning, you have to wait 60 months to save any money over a non-hybrid car because of lower gas expenses.
I've often wondered what the resale value of this particular vehicle will be as well--what with the limited-life batteries costing thousands of dollars...
"I keep finding them stuck to the skid-plate of my Suburban..."
Of course, that's why they look so much like cockroaches.
I think the Prius is great and I don't understand why Rush hates them so.
The last time my liberal brother and I both visited my mother at the same time, I drove there in my gas-guzzling truck and he drove in his Prius.
He's a noted tightwad but whenever we needed to go anywhere, he volunteered to drive us all in his Prius (he probably thought he was helping to save the planet). So, I didn't need to fill up my truck once the entire trip until heading back.
So I have first-hand experience how the Prius saved me on gasoline... just by having a liberal brother than owned one.
This poor journalism student will get an "F" for not being politically correct and following the party line, which is "perception equals reality".
This reminds me of the time I looked up and found those old hippy wagon VW busses put out more pollution than your SUV. They have no cadilladic converters so they belch smoke.
Pray for W and Our Troops
This is an opportunity for me to bare my soul on this issue. I've been feeling really guilty about the brand new Excursion I bought for my wife this summer that only gets about 12 mpg.
It came time for my new vehicle this month, so to make amends to Mother Earth I made a concerted effort to get a more efficient means of transportation. My new F250 crew-cab that I bought Sunday gets 15mpg and I feel much better now.
South Park has shown us that the real name of this car is the "Pious".
I just wish the damn things would get out of the way. They seem to delight in creeping along holding up traffic.
I wonder what gas price is used to calculate the 60 months recoup figure? And sometimes you pay a little more to burn less gas.
stick with the Yaris. way cheaper and 40mpg.
Oh for heavens sake please use a spell checker or maybe get some brains before you post messages here:
cadilladic converter? It's called a catalytic converter for cryin out loud!
I'm a naturalized american citizen and some of you folks who were born here make us conservatives look like freegin idiotic rednecks.
I know, it was a play on words! Cadillac/catalytic. What Country do you come from so I make sure never to go there. Perhaps you can import a sense of humor.
BTW Lecture Spellcop, freegin is spelled friggin.
Pray for W and Our Troops
Ironically, the only reason to buy either is for ego trips. They're just off to different ego destinations.